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Saving Knowledge

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 28, 2016  I have often used the example of riding a bicycle as an image of knowing God. There’s no difficulty learning how to ride if you don’t mind falling off for a while. But no matter how many years you have ridden, you cannot describe for someone else how you know what you know. But you know it. I also suspect that if you thought too much about riding a bicycle while you were riding

Today the Orthodox Church Celebrates the Elevation of the Precious Cross

By Georgios N. Manolis, Theologian, September 27, 2019 The Lord’s Precious Cross is the supreme symbol of sacrifice and sanctification for the Church of Christ, Who was crucified and then rose, because the Cross, together with the Resurrection, are the two pillars which support the life for the Church and its members. The honour paid by the Orthodox Church to the Precious Cross on September 14 (though not only on that day) began in the

Ex nihilo (2)

By Fr John Breck, March 1, 2008 In the prologue to his Gospel, the evangelist John takes up the account of creation given in the first chapter of Genesis, in order to illustrate the story of redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, the eternal Son and Word of God. “In the beginning,” out of His infinite otherness, with God and as God, the Word comes forth, to create the world and to save it from death

The Fourth Friday of Great Lent: Secularized Sin

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, July 13, 2016  I have had numerous responses across social media about yesterday’s article on sin. It’s title, “Sin Is Not a Legal Problem,” drew some strong reactions. A particular concern is worth thinking about carefully. There is, as many have pointed out, plenty of juridical language in both the Scriptures and in the liturgical tradition of the Church. Quite specifically, someone noted that 1John 3:4 has this: “Sin is lawlessness.” One translation

The Fourth Monday of Great Lent: Sin Is Not a Legal Problem – Athanasius and the Atonement

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, July 12, 2016  I often struggle when people speak of their “sins.” Indeed, it is not unusual to be asked, “Is ___ a sin?” The question always makes me feel like a lawyer. Imagine that, instead of a doctor, you have a lawyer whom you consult for your medical problems. You are having trouble breathing. You’re short of breath and occasionally you cough up blood. You go to your doctor (lawyer)

Prayers for the Dead

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, May 21, 2016 The Orthodox pray for the departed. The most pressing prayer within the liturgies appointed for this purpose is for God to forgive their sins. We say, “For no one lives and does not sin, for You only are without sin….” This is easily misunderstood, but it goes to the very heart of the mystery of our relationship with God. The same sentiment, interestingly, is offered in the prayers

You Are Not Your Sin

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 24, 2016 Shame is powerful. Having begun writing on the topic, it is important to say more. The Tradition, particularly in the texts that discuss the spiritual life, contains many references to shame. In recent times, it has become a topic within the field of psychology and in the community surrounding recovery from drugs and alcohol. Strangely, it has been largely neglected in spiritual writing, even among the Orthodox. I

Knowing the Knowledge that Transforms

By Father Stephen Freeman, March 22, 2016 “If only I had known…” These are, not infrequently, the words of an apology. They are also an explanation of why we are sometimes the way we are. Ignorance is, in the mind of the Fathers, a major cause of sin. Of course, if sin is understood in a legal/forensic framework, then ignorance would be nothing more than a form of innocence. Not knowing is excusable in most

Justice, Forgiveness and Bearing a Little Shame

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 15, 2016  This morning I read a headline in the newspaper: “We will get justice.” In the relentless cycle of the daily news, the report was of the discovery of a young woman who had been murdered. It seemed a completely appropriate response by the law officer in charge of the investigation. His words doubtless echoed the sentiments of everyone who knew the young woman. The desire for justice is

Alone. One Person at a Time.

Alone When God seems absent By Abbot Tryphon, January 26, 2020  We all have those moments in our lives when we feel as though God is absent, even perhaps nonexistent. Those times leave us feeling alone and abandoned, as though we are lost in an empty stadium. We feel as though we are on a boat that has been set adrift without an engine, floating further from shore, and heading to an uncertain future. Such